billboards, poetry, Micah Purnell, Manchester, meditation

Billboards for… poetry

Dear progress is a series of word art/poems written by Micah Purnell and displayed on billboards around the city of Manchester, England.

The video explains both the wording and what Micah is thinking on.  He describes this work as:



Stephen Roach: Writing on the road

Stephen Roach, lyric writer for “Songs of Water” wrote about creativity on his blog “Words that Bloom” as he was on the road in Australia:

Creativity begins in rest,
in a moment outside of moments,
in a place where we may pause and reflect
on what has been and what is to be
or perhaps upon that which has escaped the entire notion of being.

We become an observer peering over the shoulder of our own bustling life.
But do we recognize her in the magnificence of this disentangled, free-verse prose?
Creativity is never hurried, for it perceives time in a manner much different than 
the persistent ticking of wrist watches and on-time departures.
It knows her as a mother knows her child.

And if we are able to slip through the cracks of what must-be-done 
and slow ourselves to the pace of eternity’s un-rushed sprawl, 
we might glimpse ourselves in a way heaven has drawn us all along 
– a bouquet of luminesce echoes-
From here, we can enter in again to the movement and the must-be-done 
with a washed countenance, 
a baptized habitation. “

Poem: “Snow” by Louis MacNeice

Louis MacNeice (1907-1963) was one of Northern Ireland best-known poets, and an exciting radio playwright and producer in the early days of BBC drama.  A friend posted this poem of his today on social media – and it’s too good not to share.  If you have snow today outside your window – well, perhaps this will make even more sense to you, and you can enjoy the poem’s sense of colour, distinctive aloud light, smell and taste.


The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes –
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands –
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

You can hear the poem read aloud (not by its writer) here.

(both poem and reading were found at The Poetry Exchange website).



Poem written for Henry Moore

This day last week, I was in a writing workshop (led by Kate Hastie) on how to make a poem response to artworks (“Ekphrasis”).  In response to this lithograph by Henry Moore, “Upright Motives” – I wrote this:




For Henry Moore “Upright Motives”


Reinterpreting the body with his pen,

Henry watches his model moving about the room

in velvet sunlight

Heads are too complicated,

he boils one down to a piece of broccoli

As the waist is to the mouth

as the rib is to the flag

as the neck is a tree

the knees are tiered like Padi fields

circling round a mountain


A lozenge, a curve,

a salsa dancing line to the shoulders

a lightness and brightness

an awkward hip


like double basses made by a surrealist,

listed unbuildings

flickering flames


Bones like a xylophone

armoured suits

beat a crackle allure

like the bones falling together

into soft places


© Heather Gregg, 2017



ordinary love poem (under 2 minutes)

When Frank O’Hara, poet with the day job of curating in the Museum of Modern Art  (New York), writes a love poem, it naturally mentions a great deal of art – as well as something as simple and everyday as sharing a fizzy drink.

Creative Takeaways:

  • Write daily.  This is good practice and gets you into daily being aware of noticing what’s going on around you and in your own heart and mind – and getting at least some of that down on paper.  It will give you a great deal more of written material than waiting for “the muse to descend”.


When shall I be creative?

When and where shall I be creative?  Well – it is up to you – but do read this poem by Charles Bukowski for some insight:

“–you know, I’ve either had a family, a job, something
has always been in the
but now
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
the light.
for the first time in my life I’m going to have a place and
the time to
no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your
body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
back while
the whole city trembles in earthquakes, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
new excuses


(poem found on “Hello Poetry” blog)